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GARDENING
(veggies, fruits & nuts)

We set our garden area up adjacent to both the barn and the chicken house where all would be convenient for composting. We placed the entire garden/orchard in the middle of the property and surrounded it with a 9 ft fence that keeps deer out. The upper footage of this fencing was made of welded wire and set about a foot above the regular field fencing used for the bottom portion. This upper part bent outward to confuse deer. We added some of this same welded wire on the outside of the field fencing to keep the goats from sticking their heads thru to get whatever might be inside the garden near the fence line. In another area of the field fencing, we placed baby chicken wire to deter rabbits. Then we put some welded wire (3 ft high) across the middle so as to separate the vegetable part from the orchard part, making sure the chickens & geese only had access to the orchard portion of this large garden.

The first thing we did with this entire area was have it double dug, which brought up all existing rocks below the surface. (It also allowed us to make a better guess as to how deep the hardpan may be in certain areas as we knew we did not want to plant fruit trees over a hardpan that would not permit their taproots to go very deep. Then we spread some agricultural lime over the vegetable portion and fertilized it well. Each fall we threw a cover crop over it, tilling it under to help the soil. We have decided not to use chemicals on our place; thus, we make use of companion planting techniques, often discovering what is growing here already is helpful in this regard...example: Yarrow pulls up nutrients to all vegetation it grows near; Evening Primrose and Amaranth feed bad bugs, thus keeping them off the crops we want for ourselves; garlic growing around our fruit trees deters bad bugs, morning glories, French marigolds, etc (too many to name) attract good bugs, as does mint which, also, smothers out crabgrass. We also planted Bocking 14 Comfrey in various places throughout our entire garden to both pull up nutrients to feed nearby vegetation as well as to fertilize what we grow.

In the orchard portion we placed our vineyard (seedless grapes and muscadines), embedding posts and running wires strategically for these to grow on. The trees we chose were plums, sweet cherries and persimmons; and these were all planted with utility wire embedded around what would be their drip line to deter moles/voles. This utility wire was buried at least 6 inches into the ground and stood up from the ground another 6+ inches. Then we planted chocolate mint around them as well as Evening Primrose. The mint, as mentioned above, was to provide a ground cover that would not compete with ground nutrients while serving to choke out grasses that might want to grow around these trees. It would also produce flowers that would attract good bugs. The Evening Primrose was planted because bad bugs love these; thus, such would help keep bad bugs off our fruit trees. At one end of this orchard, we planted mulberry trees strictly to feed the birds so they would be inclined to leave OUR fruits alone. And just across the drive from this orchard we created a separate place for a Brown Turkey Fig as well as several blueberry bushes, fencing these strategically to keep our free-ranging goats from destroying them.

In the vegetable area we added some fruit trees/bushes/vines (Asian Pears, Goji berries, thornless black berries, Black Currants & Figs) around the parameter near the fence. We, also, added two Sugar Maple trees, six Rugosa Rose bushes, two climbing roses (both Quadra) & some Washington Giant Nettle, preparing extra fencing 2 ft high around the nettle to deter rabbits. We also added some strawberries and created a rabbit deterent around those as well. Now this still left us a very large area in the middle of the garden area as well as a large area on the southern side where David is growing medicinal plants. In the middle here I am placing the "raised beds" I want. You can see the step-by-step creation of the first of these raised beds ....(provide link)....here. The veggies we grow are what we use the most of and these options remain open each year. Our compost pile is near the back of the garden while our Composter "barrel" is near the chicken house (for convenience in turning it each day). And I need to add here that we have discovered a variety of "wild" vegetation growing on our farm that we propagate and encourage to grow for nutrition as well as medicinal purposes.

In the back of our farm (outside the garden area) is a small structure now being used to create herbal concoctions; and farther out between the garden and the creek are a few English walnut and Pecan trees. Since deer frequent this area often, these trees have a double fence around them that have worked at keeping the deer from eating their leaves. Of course, these are slow to grow; so we haven't as yet been able to harvest anything. However, we have more than enough nuts because we have quite a few black walnuts growing in the back here as well as up at the front part of our acreage.

A way of discussing all this can be found at the homesteading "Let talk" button at top of this page.